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My Diagnosis of Endometriosis Was Only the Beginning

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At the age of 17, a junior in high school, I would always wonder why I had irregular periods. I was too afraid to tell my mom because I felt like I was too young to go to the gynecologist. The thought terrified me. I kept it quiet for a few months until I had a rupturing ovarian cyst, which led me to go to the hospital.

Ovarian cysts are completely normal to have. All women get them, though they usually go away on their own. After the incident with the ovarian cyst, I knew I would have to go to the gynecologist. I went soon after my hospital visit because my mom and I wanted to try and prevent this from happening again. After my first visit, I was put on birth control, which I wasn't opposed to because I had friends who were on it, telling me it helped them, especially with cramps. Unfortunately, I went through many different types of birth control and couldn't seem to find the right one for me. I was told to see a specialist who diagnosed me with endometriosis.
say what gifWhat is that? Yeah, that was the first question I wanted to know also, besides why I was in so much pain. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that is usually found inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus and can spread to surrounding organs. Normally the inside tissue sheds you get your period, and while I would still get my period, there was still tissue that would grow outside of my uterus and even my bladder.

Soon after being diagnosed, I had my first surgery. It was a one-day surgery where I went in super early, and then went home that afternoon. The doctors made a small incision in my belly button and one right below my stomach. They used small cameras and tools and were able to clear out what endometrial tissue was there. After that surgery, I felt great. I was put on a normal birth control where I would skip the placebo pill, so I would never get my period (which sounds amazing and it kind of was, but I felt as if that was unnatural). If I ever felt the need to get a period, I could do so and then go months without one again.
period gifNow at 23, I've had five excellent years of being on the same birth control with no issues until late January 2015. I was excited because I just got my acceptance to college and was working full time. In the beginning of February, I started to feel changes that I had not felt in a long time, which led me right back to my doctor. My gynecologist didn't want to suggest surgery right away being that I have had a good five years without any problems, so we tried another form of birth control. But mere weeks passed before the pain was so intense that I couldn't work.

That's when I went in for my second surgery. I was hopeful that the recovery was going to be just as easy and painless as my first one. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Since February, I've tried multiple birth controls, one which lead me to have cysts grow and rupture daily, one that worked for a few weeks then still led me to be in pain. Now I am on a daily birth control (again skipping the placebo pill, so I don't get my period), but it's not the answer once again. I've been out of work since June, though I am attending school despite having good and bad days with my pain. It has been a long journey and will continue to be long, but I am strong. Whether another surgery is in my near future or not, I'm still learning to live with this, and it does take time get accustomed to. My bad days may have me bed-ridden, but I live for the good days where my pain is tolerable and I feel like I can take on the world.
I am here again, sharing my story about my issues, but now my issue with endometriosis because I do not know anyone who has had the same problem as I have. I am hoping that this post opens doors to women and young girls who may feel like something is not right with their menstrual period. If you are embarrassed to talk about your period, please don't be. It's natural, we all get go through it. Talk to someone you feel comfortable with - a friend, a teacher, your parents. Even thought it may get awkward, they want to help you. I am also here to listen and give advice if you'd like. One thing I can tell you for sure, heating pads are your best friend.

To the women and young girls who may have a diagnoses of endometriosis, please reach out to me. I have yet to find someone I can relate to, and it's hard when you feel like you are by yourself in situations like this. To the women and young girls who just have basic question about your period, I'm not a doctor, but I would love to try and help you as much as possible. We are all in this together.
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